Rosses gardeners tame a 'knotty' problem
By Carolyn Farrar
Participants in a horticulture course in the Rosses have tamed and converted a tangle of overgrowth into a garden of colourful flowerbeds.
"They started with a wilderness of Japanese knotwood," said Michelle N Chnimhs, manager of the Ionad Teampaill Chrine in Dungloe. Michelle called the wild plant "pretty much unstoppable," but said tutor and horticulturalist Conor O'Kane, and the 15 course participants, have transformed an overgrown field at a former national school site since the course began last September.
Different elements of the horticulture course are running at three locations: the flowerbeds and a man-made pool draw garden-lovers to the old national school playground on the Quay Road, where polytunnels nurture plants that require warmer temperatures; project participants engage in indoor sowing at the old labour exchange in Dungloe; and participants work on cookery, computer and business modules at the ionad itself.
The ionad is running the Fetac Level 4 course, with support from Coiste Gairmoideachais Chontae Dhn na nGall, Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta and An Roinn Coimirce Sisiala, who have backed the project with nearly 49,000 euro.
Sen Gaoithn, head gardener at Glenveagh National Park, officially launched the 48-week course this week, before large crowd that included participants, funders and local people.
Michelle said the course will contribute to developing the economic and social sustainability of the area by providing education locally. She said the course also enables the centre to diversify the training and courses offered to people who seek to build on their skills.
"It's about people trying to diversify and do other things," Michelle said.
Then there are the added benefits the course has brought to the outdoor locations where Conor and the project participants have worked together. The national school, for example, had been closed since the 1970s.
"One of the nicest developments to see is the old school yard being brought back to life again, through the presence of people, and the wonderful work which has been achieved over the time allocated," Michelle said.
"There are several other areas in need of development, but perhaps that is a story for another day," she added.